In a unanimous vote of its principals, the Illini Prairie Conference has approved adding Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School to the league beginning with the 2021-22 school year.
“It’s a great fit for our conference in everything: activities, academics, athletics,” Central Catholic athletic director Hud Venerable said Wednesday. “They are on our schedule in a lot of different things, and probably half the teams in our conference play PBL in something.”
PBL is leaving the Sangamon Valley Conference. The high school is located in Paxton.
“We’ve always found the competition (from PBL) to be very good,” said Venerable. “It’s a first-class community with great support. We’re really happy to have them.”
The addition of PBL bumps the Illini Prairie to 11 schools. Other members are Olympia, Pontiac, Prairie Central, Chillicothe IVC, Tolono Unity, Champaign St. Thomas More, St. Joseph-Ogden, Monticello and Rantoul.
PBL is especially attractive to the Illini Prairie’s football teams. St. Thomas More has announced it will transition to eight-man football, opening a hole on league football schedules.
“That will bring us back to a full round robin in football,” Venerable said. “For a year, we’ll have to make due with a nonconference game, but in 2021 we’ll be able to play a (nine-game) round robin within the conference again.”
Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt
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